Watch Out: Life in Iran During the Shah’s Reign | Stories of Life

Two weeks earlier, I blogged about me taking a well-known Iranian singer to the recording studio, when I worked at CBS Records in Tehran. In case you haven’t read my previous story, I worked as assistant Art and Repertoire manager at the above company, after returning from Switzerland to Tehran for a short period – which happened to be during the last three years of the Shah’s reign.
Here is another recording story in CBS concerning an artist, whom I discovered and promoted. Let’s call him “Parviz” for this story.
Luckily or unluckily, the Iranian royal family liked Parviz very much.
One afternoon, as I sat in my office with a renowned traditional drummer, I received a call from the Shah’s twin sister’s office. Her secretary wanted me to find Parviz and tell him that the princess wants him to sing at the her party that same night. For some reason, Parviz, did not have a telephone at home. Each time I needed to contact him, I had to send the company driver to his house to deliver him a message.
The day I received that call, I was supposed to take Parviz to the studio to begin recording his new album. Thus, I bluntly told the royal secretary that Parviz could not perform at the princess’ party, because I had booked studio time for him.
“Are you crazy?” the drummer burst out, as soon as I hung up. “Next thing you know, tomorrow you’ll have a heart attack!”
“What…!” I interjected. “What do you mean? I’m young and healthy!”
“You don’t understand!” the drummer said, lowering his voice, to avoid the other employees in the neighboring offices from overhearing him. “What I mean is this. You should never say no to the Shah’s twin sister, or even to other members of the royal family.”
This reminded me of the rumor about the Shah’s father, who was believed to have ordered the court doctor to inject air into Reza Shah’s opponents’ arteries. That’s why certain people would have a sudden, unexplained heart attack. As I was preoccupied with this scary thought, the loud ringing of the telephone threw me out of my reverie.
“Madam, please listen to me!” I heard the voice of the princess’ secretary pleading, when I answered the phone. “Please, please… I beg you… do find Parviz, otherwise I will be in deep trouble.”
I sighed, feeling helpless and answered, “OK… OK! I’ll do it just for you.”
This might sound crazy, but despite my apprehension, what I desired was not to yield to the despotic wishes of the princess. Meanwhile, I did not mind to help the desperate royal secretary. My friend – the drummer – smiled and shook his head, probably thinking to himself that this woman will never learn.
+Stories of Life – Life in Iran During the Shah’s Reign


  1. Wendy says:

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    • Hi, Thanks for your note. I am sorry for answering you so late. I have back problem and I have been going from one doctor to the other. Today, is the first time I have had time to check my messages. About receiving spam, so far, I have not received any. In fact, I don’t even get much comments about my blogs. Sometimes, I get one or two with each blog. As concerning the spams, I guess there is not much one can do. Simply hit the spam at the bottom of the comments. I am sorry for not being to help you. I don’t even know how to find other writers blogs. Now that I have your link, I will read yours. By the way, how did you find out about my blog?

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